The Wall Street Journal

For Career Success, Study Those Quadratics
The Wall Street Journal

In order of difficulty, high school math usually progresses from pre-Algebra to Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and more advanced classes. What Mr. James found is that the higher level of math taken, the more likely a student would graduate and the more likely he would go to college.

Half of low-math students attend college versus 68% of high-math high-school grads. But importantly, Mr. James found the students who took higher level math classes were three times as likely to earn a four-year college degree than students who took only Algebra I. Mr. James also found math imparted career gains to students who did not go onto college. “The more math one takes, the more one earns on average, and the more likely one is to have a job,” he writes.

The benefit even shows up among high-school drop outs. The median wage for full-time workers aged 20-30 years who dropped out of high school after completing only Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, or less was $12.70 per hour. Dropouts with Geometry or Algebra II earned a significantly higher hourly pay of $14.36.

In 1982, Mr. James notes, 39% of high school graduates had taken Algebra II or higher. By 2009, the percentage had jumped to 75%.

Au Québec, nos ministres de l’éducation parlent souvent de l’enseignement du français. Par contre, rarement on les voit demander plus d’heures pour les cours de mathématiques…